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Ethereal Estate

Ethereal Estate

Alec Menard
by AlecMenard on 11 Apr 2024

As an Ethereal Estate agent, your job is to make a mess out of a mansion and its helpless inhabitants. Never before has a ghost unleashed such devastating chaos... until now! Ethereal Estate is a game I worked on as the last project of my bachelor's degree in game design.

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Ethereal Estate

Primary Role(s) : Creative director & Game designer

Steam page

The game

My contribution 

In this project, I had two roles. I was the lead designer of the game in the early development stage and was "promoted" to creative director as the production went on (I put promoted in quotation marks, as it was a school project).  

As the lead designer, my contributions were helping the team with: 

- Designing the core gameplay mechanics;

- Designing the interactions system (how items an environmental elements interact with each other);

- Designing the character controller (CCC);

- Writing the Game Design Document (GDD);

- Writing the pitch deck;

- Lead brainstorm sessions;

- Lead daily scrum meetings.

As the creative director, my contributions were : 

- Updating the backlog of our agile planning tool (we used Handsoft);

- Oversee the designers' daily scrum meetings;

- Ensure good communication between the teams (designer, artists and programmers);

- Oversee the look and feel of the game and ensure the team followed the vision we laid down in the beginning of the production;

- Adjust the schedule according to the challenges we faced, making sure the team met the deadlines;

- Maintain relationship with the publisher (our teachers). 

My learnings

The main things I take away from this project are :

- How to adapt quickly when facing unexpected hindrances (2020 pandemic);

- How to setup and ensure good communications while working remotely;

- How to create and nurture a fun work environment, conducive to creativity;

- How to organize a team of 35+ people so that we meet deadlines;

- How to make tough decisions regarding what to keep and what to cut when having to meet said deadlines;

- How to scope a game intelligently, taking into account production time, the various talents of team members and requests from the publisher (the teachers).


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